Yoga, Qigong and Disease
The impact of the pandemic has made us all acutely aware of our own immune systems. Qigong and Yoga have long been touted for their astonishing therapeutic elements that can empower your immune system and assist in the path of prevention and recovery. While these time-honored health practices are no panacea, they are powerful adjunctive treatments. An adjunctive treatment is secondary, used concurrent with a primary medical treatment. Adjunctive treatments are strongly supported by medical professionals. Yoga and Qigong have many simple regimens that can help you achieve a healthy lifestyle with just a few minutes a day.
It with this intention that YMAA worked with Marisa Cranfill to develop Qigong Flow for Immune System Boost. Cranfill is the creator of YoQi, a unique fusion of qigong and yoga. This program can help you to strengthen your immune system and we can all use that all the time, regardless of the pandemic. Her program is simple and easy to learn for anyone, no matter their age or experience. Even if you do not believe in the existence of qi, these low impact exercises comprise a simple calisthenics regimen, and that alone can improve your health.
Marisa has studied qigong and yoga extensively in Asia for years. She immersed herself in yoga in India and received direct transmission from qigong masters while living in China and Thailand. She's multi-lingual, fluent in Chinese, English, Italian, Spanish and Thai, and travels the world to further her research and share her wisdom. Her calming voice has guided thousands of students to find themselves with YoQi all around the globe.
YoQi integrates all of Marisa's knowledge into awareness-based movements and self-healing methods, predominantly the two most venerated: yoga and qigong. Traditional yoga postures (known as asana) are amplified with flowing qigong movements.
Where Qigong Meets Yoga
YoQi is heavily influenced by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Marisa takes care to describe the various exercises in terms of the TCM view of organs and acupressure points. In Qigong Flow for Immune System Boost, Marisa does not adopt an Ayurvedic perspective. Like yoga, Ayurvedic medicine originates from India and the two disciplines are intricately connected. There are parallels between TCM and Ayurveda. Both systems describe a vital life energy that flows through the body. In TCM, it is qi that flows through meridians or channels (jingluo in Chinese). Ayurveda calls this energy prana and the channels nadi. However, as tempting as it may be to correlate these two venerated medical systems, they are not the same. It would not be wise to mix them too much.
Qigong Flow for Immune System Boost extracts some techniques from classic qigong routines like the Eight Section, Five Animal Play, and others, focusing on how they cultivate specific healing organs of TCM. These include the stomach, spleen, large intestine, kidneys, and triple warmer. She also includes exercises that stimulate bone marrow because of its connection with white blood cells which are critical for your immune system.
The novel techniques of YoQi that integrate asana with qigong movements are the most intriguing. These graceful flowing movements comprise the defining quality that sets YoQi apart from other new hybrids. They echo yoga vinyasa (the smooth transitions between asana poses espoused by many schools of yoga) while concentrating on qi flow. These exercises are simple and low impact. They can stand alone as their own YoQi practice or be integrated into any curriculum or regimen.
Where the Mind Goes, the Qi Flows
In Qigong Flow for Immune System Boost Marisa presents two core routines: Qigong Flow for Immune System Defense and Qigong Flow for Immune System Support. She describes these programs in terms of your internal army of defense. Qigong Flow for Immune System Defense is designed to train your army and prepare them to be ready when you need them. Qigong Flow for Immune System Support is designed to fortify your army supplies and build up your reserves.
Both Qigong Flow programs are offered in a long form and a short form. In the long form, Marisa explains the techniques in detail, unravelling the reasons behind each movement and teaches you how they work. The short form is a real-time demonstration so you can follow along easily. Both programs combine body movements, healthy visualizations, self-massage, and acupressure to purge, tonify and circulate your qi, promoting health so you may 'sparkle like fresh quartz crystals.' According to Marisa, "The more awareness you can bring to the movement, the more you can feel the qi." The video also includes two bonus tracks: body patting and standing meditation.
Marisa also advocates cultivating your inner smile. Recent research has shown positive effects of smiling on the brain and well-being. She asks you to 'smile at your body' and 'smile at the intelligence of your immune system.'
Ducks Are Calm on the Surface But Madly Paddling Underneath
For keen observers, Qigong Flow for Immune System Boost includes a unique peek into the power of qi. One of the 'mystical' properties often ascribed to qigong is its effects on animals. Animals are believed to be more qi sensitive. Practitioners sometimes notice that animals react differently when around them. At first, pets are often excited by their owner's practice, which can be disturbingly distracting. However, after they get used to it, they usually enjoy sharing the practice space as if they are comforted by the circulation of qi. What's more intriguing is that when practicing outdoors, many practitioners notice that it attracts wild animals. Birds, rodents, and other small animals appear as if to just hang out. It's like a magnet. While this might seem absurd, many qigong practitioners report such experiences.
Marisa Cranfill always selects beautiful natural settings as backdrops for her instructional videos. This goes beyond a mere aesthetic choice. It is of the utmost importance to practice qigong in a proper environment. You should not practice next to anything filthy because you don't want to pollute your qi. At its core, qigong is about breathing, and you don't want to breathe dirty air.
In Qigong Flow for Immune System Boost, Marisa positions herself before a tranquil pond in Poland. Behind her, you can see ducks swimming in the pond. The ducks gravitate to her. They are grouped close to the pond's edge, nearest to where Marissa is practicing. You can see the rest of the pond, which is quite large. Only a few ducks are out there, even though there's plenty of empty pond. Most all the ducks stay near Marisa throughout her demonstration. You'd think the ducks would avoid Marisa and the commotion of her camera crew, but the results are quite the opposite.
Naturally, ducks don't prove anything about the efficacy of Qigong Flow for Immune System Boost. The only proof is to try it and see if you feel better afterward. Even though it won't cure COVID, Qigong Flow for Immune System Boost can help you live a happy life, your best life, and always with a smile.